MA Education: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

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Fact file

Start date: September or January 

Course length: Full-time: one year; part-time: three to six years.

Campus: Kedleston Road, Derby

College: College of Arts, Humanities and Education

Department: Postgraduate and Initial Teacher Training

Why choose this pathway?

  • You will develop a further understanding of inclusion and Special Educational Needs ,
  • This pathway will allow you to progress in providing education and support within the areas of inclusion and special education
  • You will have the opportunity to reflect on inclusive and special educational practices, discussing and debating these with others.
  • You will read critically material relevant to inclusion and special education and discuss texts in a seminar context, thereby deepening your awareness of key topics

What you will cover

Part-time students 

As a part-time student your studying will normally take place over three academic years, potentially choosing one module per term. 

Your first module will be ‘Crafting Your Masters Study’. The other pathway, core and optional modules will be available according to the schedule of delivery.

Here is an example of possible combination modules:

Year 1 - Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)

Crafting Your Masters Study 

Pathway module or optional module

Optional module

Year 2 - Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits)

Optional Module

Pathway module

Evidence Based Practice

Year 3 - Masters (180 credits)

Independent study with a Special Needs focus

Full-time students 

As a full-time student your studying will normally take place over one academic year.  The optional modules and pathway modules will be available according to the schedule of delivery

Here is an example of the combination of modules that you would choose:

Term 1 (Sept - Dec)

Crafting Your Masters Study (20 credits)

Evidence Based Practice (20 credits)

Optional or pathway module (20 credits)

Term 2 (Jan - March)

Applying Educational Thinkers and Theorists (20 credits)

Independent Study (60 credits) Attend workshop

Optional or pathway module (20 credits)

Term 3 (April - June)

Comparative Education (20 credits)

Independent Study (Submit in August)

Optional or pathway module (20 credits) if not already taken in term 1 or 2

 For both part-time and full-time students

Core modules

  • Crafting Your Masters Study
  • Evidence Based Practice‌
  • Independent Study‌

Prescribed pathway modules

Special Educational Needs (SEND): Current Issues and Concerns

  • You will explore recent developments in provision for children and young people described as having special educational needs, and the extent to which practice has met with expectations to date. Recent legislation will be discussed and its impact on practice.

Specific Learning Difficulties

  • During this module you will consider questions such as the nature of reading and literacy delay and can pupils with autism be considered as having specific learning difficulties? You will then focus on effective professional practice through critical analysis of policy and practice.


MA Education Programme Specification



MA Education Programme Specification

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

How you will learn

You'll learn through active participation in course seminars. Relevant critical reading and discussion will contribute to your progress along the pathway.

Tutorial guidance will be provided for your assignment work.

Careers and employability

Our graduates have said that this course gave them the confidence to apply for positions that they would not usually consider, as a consequence of this their professional performance has improved. Some of our graduates have gone on to become advanced skills teachers, disability coordinators, assistant head teachers and head teachers.

You may also wish to go on to further study such as MPhil, EdD or PhD.

What our students say

"This pathway has allowed me to enhance my skills in special educational needs linking in to my job role in school. It’s enabled me to investigate aspects of special educational needs that weren’t covered in other areas. I’ve been able to think more critically and to think deeper in to the theory."

Natalie Kerslake, graduate

Read more about Natalie

"I have enjoyed the opportunity the MA has given me to look at my teaching through ‘fresh eyes’ and, meet new people, some of whom have become friends. I found the course difficult at times; working full time with a family is not easy when studying at this level, but it is exceptionally rewarding. Staff at Derby University are very helpful and supportive. Studying on the MA course at Derby University has given me the confidence to move on with my teaching career and move out of the ‘rut’ I seemed to be in four years ago. I have recommended the course to my colleagues."

Melanie Coultas, graduate

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need an undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification and a role within education that will allow you to complete the work based assignments. Even if you don’t have these entry requirements it’s worth contacting us if you have relevant professional experience as we may be able to consider your application.

How to Apply

Full-time UK/EU and International Students

Part-time UK/EU Students

Information for international applicants

Applying for an postgraduate degree

Fees and finance

2018/19 Fees (August 2018 - July 2019)


£600 per 20 credits*

£600 per 20 credits*


£13,500 for the full programme


*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Scholarships and bursaries

We also offer a number of funding opportunities for all International students, including discounts, scholarships and bursaries.

Pathway enquiries

Course leader: Vanessa Cottle

Where will I study?

Kedleston Road, Derby